By Stacey Naggiar
Advocacy and Communications Officer, MACEPA, and Global Health Corps Fellow
This week MACEPA’s Chilumba Sikombe and Elizabeth Chiyende traveled to Zimba and Kalomo districts in Southern Province to engage in focus group discussions with community health workers (CHWs) around malaria community case investigation and reporting. The goal of the discussions was to learn about the rewards and challenges of their work and to inform what messages and materials should be part of sensitization activities to increase awareness of Step D services in their communities.
“The community health workers said they are well known in the community, even called nurses and doctors. While discussing the brochures, one CHW said it would be helpful to have a poster describing her work that she could put on the door of her home,” Chiyende said.
The team used Tableau visualizations to show community health workers the burden in their areas and neighboring clinics, and to prompt discussion around how they can improve their reporting.
In the news
In a new article for BMJ, Bruno Moonen from the Gates Foundation and Clive Shiff from Johns Hopkins University debate the value of malaria eradication programs. Moonen says the alternative to eradication, control, is not sustainable and that we need an “all-in global effort. . . until the last parasite is exterminated.” Shiff, on the other hand, says money should be spent on managing and strengthening health services for malaria control rather than eradication. (via Science Daily)
Researchers have learned important details about how the immune system responds to a malaria infection. The studies, in mice, reveal how two different types of immune cells, called T cells, are active during different stages of malaria infection. The researchers also identified some keys genes responsible for producing antibodies and next want to study if targeting a gene, called Galectin 1, could help boost immunity against malaria. (via Medical Xpress)
A new study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found the use of intermittent preventive treatment (IPTp) not only reduces adverse birth effects associated with malaria in pregnancy, but it also reduces birth effects associated with sexually transmitted infections. According to the authors, this is the first evidence that IPTp protects against sexually transmitted infections. They hope it will lead to scaling up coverage of preventive treatment. (via Outbreak News Daily)
The Council on Foreign Relations has published an interactive report on the emerging crisis of noncommunicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries. The piece, supported by data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, points to declining rates of infectious disease and accelerated rates of urbanization as two, but not all of, the reasons behind the growing epidemic. Equally as concerning as the deaths associated with the rise of NCDs are the costs that come with it—families lose everything they have and governments endure decreased productivity and increased health expenditures. CFR convened an Independent Task Force to recommend a way forward.
Our latest Making Malaria History blog post remembers how malaria impacts women. Read more here.
See the photo series posted to our INSTAGRAM account.